1st Round Pick Leads Cubs to Victory in 1st Pro Game
In his third AB in just his first professional game, Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (Mater Academy - Hialeah Gardens, FL) blasted a two-run HR over the LF fence and onto the berm in front of the scoreboard to cap a three-run 5th, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the AZL Brewers in Arizona League action tonight at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix.
In addition to Almora's heroics, Ben Carhart had four hits (all singles) and scored a run, and Shawon Dunston Jr singled, doubled, and walked, and scored twice.
Almora played CF and batted 3rd in the lineup.
Hitting with a 0-1 count, the 19-year old RH hitter reached base on an E-3 (easy roller fumbled by the Brewers 1st baseman) with one out and a runner at 2nd in his first AB in the top of the 1st, and then he hit a soft line-drive back to the pitcher on an 0-2 pitch with a runner at 2nd base and two outs in the top of the 3rd, before connecting on his two-run blast off Brewers RHP Zachary Quintana on an 2-0 pitch with a runner at 2nd base and two outs in the top of the 5th.
Almora looked a bit shaky in the outfield, however, fumbling a line-drive hit to CF (the ball was retrieved by RF Yasiel Balaguert and the runner was thrown out trying to take the extra base, so no error was charged), and taking a bad route on a line drive hit to his left that turned what should have been either a long single or possibly a double (with perhaps a play at 2nd base) into a stand-up triple.
Almora was removed from the game after the 5th inning (after he got three AB).
One night after hitting his first pro HR and knocking the Reds third-baseman out of the game with a bouncing rocket off the youngster's nose, Jorge Soler was the DH and hit 5th, and went 0-5.
He struck out his first two times up (the first time swinging on a 3-2 pitch, and the second time looking on a 1-2 pitch), before grounding out three consecutive times to SS (all three high infield choppers) in his final three AB (first pitch swinging on the first one, then hitting with a 1-0 count, and finally on a 2-2 pitch).
Cubs 2012 5th round draft pick LHP Anthony Prieto (Americas HS - El Paso, TX) made his fourth pro start, and labored through one inning of work (30 pitches - only 14 strikes). He went to ball three on four of the five hitters he faced and walked two of them, but he also struck out two and did not allow a run,
Although he had difficulty throwing strikes, Prieto had no trouble turning a couple of nifty back flips (a la Ozie Smith) in the outfield before he began his pre-game warm-up in the bullpen. The East German judge only gave him a 6.5, but Prieto is obviously quite an athlete (for a pitcher).
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.